Opinion: A normal 72 hours in America: At least 110 shot and killed, 223 injured

Law enforcement vehicles and personnel gather behind yellow tape
A shooting suspect is apprehended Thursday outside a home in Bedias, Texas.
(Michael Miller / College Station Eagle)

Thursday night at our house was the basic normal. After dinner I snipped off a few intruding branches from a neighbor’s trees and jammed the trimmings into the green bin ahead of the Friday garbage and recycling pickup.

Then my wife and I watched “Jeopardy!” and “Wheel of Fortune” before I went to the office to listen to music, check email and do some work on a book project.

A basic, normal day.

The executive actions seek to address the proliferation of guns and gun violence, but the most meaningful reforms will require congressional action.

April 8, 2021


There was also a mass shooting on Thursday in Texas. Another one the day before in South Carolina. That has become normal, too.

In fact, gun violence has come to define normal, and in some way to define America, with our daily churn of gunfire and wounds and death and psychological traumas that may never settle, that destroy families, that destroy futures for children.

Thursday was also the day President Biden announced some steps to try to corral gun violence. They were good as far as they went, but there are limits to what a president can do. The solutions lie primarily with Congress, where meaningful steps to end this carnage apparently are steps too far.

So as I slipped into the end of a normal day, I decided to check the Gun Violence Archive website, which does a running tally of gun violence over the previous 72 hours. It is by no means an exhaustive tally — it doesn’t include most suicides, for instance — but offers a reliable floor for measuring the scope of daily gun violence.

As of about 8:30 p.m. Thursday on the West Coast, the site had recorded over the previous 72 hours at least 317 shooting incidents. Some had a lucky outcome — no one was hit. Most did not. Gunfire killed at least 110 people and injured 223 others.

One dead in Rochester, N.Y., another in Springfield, Mo., and yet another in Oakland. Two in Hammond, Ind., and two more in Takoma Park, Md., and two more in Milwaukee.

And on it goes, shooting after shooting, death after death, day after day.

Because, you know, this is normal.